CPS creates new “better” bad school category

CPS Guidelines For School Actions reads: “The CEO may only propose a [school] closure…if the students impacted…have the option to enroll in a higher performing school.” The Commission on School Utilization says, “The goal must be to enroll all displaced students into higher-performing schools.”

Looking at the list of closing and receiving schools—and the associated data—the question naturally arises, “Is CPS living up to its own standard?” The answer, unfortunately, is “Not always,” or more troubling, “No one really knows.”

For many years, CPS has classified schools as performing at levels 1 (best), 2, or 3 (worst). However, when you examine levels at closing and receiving schools, you find that in 25 cases, students are slated to be sent to a school that is not rated at a higher level.

CPS seems to have temporarily redefined “higher performing” to mean:

. . .higher on the majority [three out of four] of the following metrics for the 2011–2012 school year: percentage of points on the Performance Policy, ISAT composite meets or exceeds score, Value Added reading, and Value Added math.

CPS has created a new category of “better” bad that allows them to claim that all displaced students will be sent to better schools. Except, this “better” bad standard is not met in the case of closing Owens, with students sent to Gompers.

Using Value Added scores for this purpose, however, is problematic. The mechanics of calculating the scores are complex and education experts agree that these scores should not be used in this way.

Making matters worse, when you apply statistical analysis of validity to the underlying CPS metrics, they are shockingly unstable. From 2011 to 2012, 77 schools flipped from being among the top quarter of schools in Value Added Reading to the lowest quarter or vice versa.

How can CPS justify closing a school because it had a very low Value Added score in the most recent year even though it had a very high score in the previous year? Using their methods, might that school be just as likely to have a very high score next year? Statistically, this extremely “noisy” number is a difference without distinction and certainly no marker of “better.”

In recent weeks, debates have centered on utilization rates, savings, safety, neighborhood disruption, and racial discrimination. Statistical evidence indicates that—at the very least—many students will not be moving to a higher performing school.

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Live blogging–which school pages people are looking at

News about each school that is being axed is leaking out through aldermen, teachers, school administrators, etc.

Until 5 pm, about when the final list will probably be released, we’re going to post the schools that people are looking most on the schoolcuts site on the supposition that there may be some relationship. Once the list is released we’ll see if we have learned anything about how information such as this spreads word of mouth and does the data get more accurate over time..

4-5 pm

Calhoun North
De Priest
Bethune
Manierre
Delano
Canter Middle
Brentano
Jackson M
Carver
Libby
Beidler
Gresham
Lozano
Earle
Attucks
Till
Lewis
Whistler
De Priest
Earle
Lawrence
Paderewski
Pilsen
Von Humboldt
Altgeld
Garfield Park
Ross
Holmes
Jungman
LaFayette
Drake
Near North
Lawndale
Piccolo
O’Keeffe
Pershing West

3-4 pm

Fiske
Herzl
Ryerson
Kozminski
McClellan
Powell
Stagg
Stockton
Cantor Middle
LaFayette
Fernwood
Lawrence
Shoop
Henson
Lozano
Dumas
Wadsworth
Stewart
Attucks
Trumball
Kozminski
Montefiore
Delano
Beidler
Manierre
Duprey
Carter
Dett
Von Humboldt
Morgan
Ashe
Duprey
King
Ryerson
Robinson
Willians Middle

2-3 pm

Stockton
Key
Dumas
Pershing West
Near North
Yale
Emmet
Revere
Woods Acad
Earle
Altgeld
Armstrong, L
Garfield Park
Green
Calhoun North
Mayo
Parkman
Trumbull
Carver
Dumas
Goodlow
Melody
Sullivan
Stagg
Stockton
Ryerson
McNair
Metcalfe
Bontemps

1-2 pm

Calhoun North
Yale
Delano
Near North
Pilsen
Gresham
Revere
Trumbull
Near North
Montefiore
Cantor Middle
Fermi

Noon-1 pm

Mayo
May
Songhai
Calhoun North
Dett
Armstrong, L
King
Melody
Peabody
Stockton
Herbert
Lafayette

11 am-noon

Brentano
Calhoun North
Lozano
Mollison
Jenner
Burke
Dewey
Goldblatt
Lafayette
Sexton
Yale
May
Near North
Pershing West

Watch SchoolCuts for latest closing information

The final list of schools that are expected to be closed will be published by CPS soon. Keep an eye on SchoolCuts today—and over the next few days—as we release easy-to-understand data about the receiving schools and provide comparisons with closing schools.

We are also putting together a list of the receiving schools for which amenities such as air conditioning will need to be installed to meet CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett’s promise to students who are transferred.

Image

Photo by Jeanne Marie Olson. Pictured from left to right: Josh Kalov, Anna Marie Tamayo, Elnaz Moshfeghian

Our team worked from 5 pm Wednesday until 4:15 this morning manually entering data about receiving schools that CPS does not release in machine readable formats and writing code to support the visualizations that will present that data. We will release pages about each receiving school today and provide comparisons between each school being closed and possible receiving schools as soon as we can after that.

With help from school data experts, we will also be posting commentary in this blog about specific aspects of the data that CPS has used to justify its closing decisions.